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Spam Traps 101

spam traps

Spam Traps can cause big problems in your email program. In this article, we will discuss:

What exactly are Spam Traps;
What are the types of Spam Traps; and
The impact of Spam Traps on your sender reputation.

Types of Traps

1. Pristine:

Pristine spam traps are used SOLELY to capture "spammers". These are addresses that have never been valid email addresses (i.e. owned by a real person). If you're hitting these, there's generally something wrong with your data collection processes or your data provider.

2. Recycled:

These are email addresses that were, at one point, owned by legitimate people. However, they've since abandoned the address and the ISP(s) have recycled the email address and converted it to a spam trap. This is indicative of poor email list hygiene.

3. Unknown Users:

This is a hard bounce and is often the first step for email addresses in becoming a recycled spam trap. It is important to make sure these are removed each week. These are the types of primary email addresses provided in your weekly reports.

Naturally, if you have spam traps in your list, you can see a drop in your scores, and consequently, your inbox rates. Spam traps can cause your IPs and/or domains to get blacklisted, and your overall IP reputation may be decreased in the event of too many hits.

So the next question is... how are you getting these spam traps INTO your list?

Where Spam Traps Come From

There are a handful of ways that you could be getting these addresses into your list including:
- Co-reg or affiliates
- List services (buying lists)
- Email appends
- "Forward to a Friend" scripts
- Data acquired through a purchase of a company or a merger
- Old email addresses that have gone out of service (inactive emails).
- No interaction (i.e. they've never opened a message, clicked a link, etc.)

Preventing Spam Traps

There are a number of ways that you can prevent spam traps throughout your email program. Here are several tips for various sections of your programs:

List Building
1. Reject bad addresses (i.e. hotmial.com, yah00.com, etc.).
2. Reject abuse@ and postmaster@ addresses.
3. Reject user roles like sales@ or customersupport@.
4. Use double optin.
5. Provide a change of address/manage subscriptions option at the point of unsubscribe and in some sort of "preferences" center.
6. Do not purchase email addresses.

Unsubscribe
1. Use a 1-click unsubscribe option.
2. Offer multiple ways to unsubscribe.
3. Allow subscribers to modify types and frequency of emails.
4. Use a confirmation page for unsubscribes with information on processing the request (this is also actually a good place for some opt out marketing, downgrades, etc.).

Bounces
1. Be sure to remove the bounces from the weekly reports. If you're adding a lot of new subscribers to your list in a short period of time, we recommend that you go in and manually remove addresses more frequently.
2. Use a companywide suppression list.

What To Do If You're Hitting Spam Traps

First things first, there's not a "list" of traps that you can simply import into your database and suppress or remove. By nature, the information is not visible to the marketer.

However, there are a few things you can do to minimize/eliminate traps:

- Remove the emails from the weekly reports consistently.
- Segment by engagement.
- Remove any addresses that have no history of activity. (NOTE: a spam trap is, by nature, not an active mailbox).

Author: Heather Seitz

Attention Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, and Marketers: You may republish or syndicate this article without any charge. The only thing I ask is that you keep the newsletters, article, or blog post exactly as it was written and formatted, with no changes. You must also include full publication attribution and back links as indicated.

This information has been provided by http://www.EmailDelivered.com and written by Heather Seitz. To find out how you can boost your campaign conversions, visit http://www.emaildelivered.com/email-deliverability/spam-traps-101/. Don’t forget to sign up for the EmailDelivered Pulse newsletter for articles, tips, and recommended resources related to email marketing and email deliverability.

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June 19, 2013
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